Tensions are running high between the United States and the European Union, between the U.S. and Canada, and between the U.S. and Mexico all because of President Trump’s heavy handed tariffs. Trump in his protectionist policies is clearly making himself the odd man out in global economics. Not only did Trump maintain that harsh, unilateral viewpoint at the G7 summit, he yet again pleaded Russia’s case, saying they should be there to return it to the G8, despite negative actions by Russia that got it kicked out of the former G8 in 2014, namely annexing the Crimea from the Ukraine. And Russia hasn’t exactly been on good behavior since, as it meddled in the 2016 U.S. elections and appears to be trying to meddle with the 2018 midterms as well.
French President Emmanuel has spoken out very firmly against President Trump’s methods, suggesting that the G7 could get along just fine as the G6, i.e. without the United States. Along those same lines, 29 EU ambassadors published a letter sharply critical of Trump’s trade policies in the Washington Post. According to The Hill:
Twenty-nine European Union ambassadors to the U.S. penned an open letter to the nation criticizing President Trump‘s trade policies in The Washington Post on Friday…“Simply put, the E.U. invests more in the United States, buys more American services and employs more American workers than the other way around,” the letter states. “As a ready comparison: 45 of 50 U.S. states export more to the E.U. than they do to China. And what of China’s foreign direct investment into the United States? It’s around one-hundredth that of Europe’s.” “But, as with any partnership,” the letter continued, “the prospect of unilateral action by one side, to the detriment of the other partner, places the entire mutually beneficial relationship at risk.” The ambassadors went on to call Trump’s new tariffs on imports a significant step in a “protectionist direction” and concluded by calling for the two economies to “focus on what benefits us both.” “Together we should tackle intellectual property theft and look at how we can further reduce red tape, regulatory barriers and tariffs between us — facilitating innovation and investment, to the mutual benefit of business and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic,” the letter concludes. “This, not tariffs and quotas, would be moving in the right direction.”
Trump insists that U.S. relations with the European Union are “a 10”, saying, according to The Hill, “I would say that the level of the relationship is a 10. We have a great relationship — Angela [Merkel] and Emmanuel [Macron] and Justin [Trudeau]. I would say the relationship is a 10.” EU leaders clearly do not agree with that assessment. Both the EU and Canada have filed complaints with the World Trade Organization regarding Trump’s tariffs, saying they are illegal. And French President Macron made it very clear what he thinks of the United States under Trump, saying that a G6 without the United States would get along quite well. According to The Hill:
A day before Trump’s call for Russia to join economic talks, Macron delivered a sharp remark to Trump, saying the remaining six countries of the G-7 “don’t mind being six, if needs be.” “The six countries of the G-7 without the United States, are a bigger market taken together than the American market,” Macron said during a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday. “There will be no world hegemony if we know how to organize ourselves. And we don’t want there to be one.”
Embedded in Macron’s comment is the accusation that Trump is trying to dominate the world unilaterally and that such U.S. hegemony will be met with well-organized resistance from the European Union and other non-EU nations. Trump is acting every bit the bully and the other countries of the world are refusing to give in to that bully. Of course bullies aren’t respected, and diplomatic relations with a bully are of course going to be strained. Trump is the problem here and the world, increasingly, is just choosing to go around him to do their business, make trade agreements, and create diplomatic ties.